Patriotic Riders of the Philippines register over 250 motorcycle riders on Sunday morning for West Philippine Sea Challenge starting from Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm to Bataraza and El Nido

Over 250 motorcycle riders on Sunday kicked off the two-day “patriotic ride” to northern and southern Palawan to dramatize the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.

Atty. Roy Lawagan, secretary of the group dubbed “Patriotic Riders of the Philippines”, said that the 2019 patriotic ride was held in Palawan to discuss the issues regarding the WPS in coordination with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), local government of Palawan, Philippine National Police (PNP), Coast Guard, and Western Command (WESCOM).

“One reason is para alamin natin kung ano ba ang mga naging issue dito sa West Philippine Sea at ano yong actions taken by our government para maliwanagan tayo at sa gayon ay alam natin kung ano ang nangyayari sa ating paligid, most especially sa ating sovereignty. Second is to promote tourism in Palawan,” Lawagan said.

Lawagan hoped that through the two-day ride from the starting point in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) going to Bataraza and El Nido will also help in the promotion of local tourism.

The riders were sent off in five groups composed of 50 riders each with their numbers placed in front of their motorcycles.

There are three checkpoints located in Bataraza, Iwahig, and El Nido for the completion of the participants’ ride.

Lawagan stressed that the patriotic ride will not be a race for the participants. Instead, it is aimed to encourage them to enjoy the entire jor ride.

There are also riders who came from different provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Brigadier General Lauro Tianchon, deputy WESCOM commander, said that aside from the resources that could be found in the West Philippine Sea, it also serves as an important sea lane for trades.

“Nandito yong mga trade na dumadaaan every time. I read newspaper, nandito yong 5 trillion or 5 billion trade passes through every year, yon ang nakikita natin na this West Philippine Sea is very important for the whole world and especially to the Filipinos, so dapat magkabuklod-buklod tayo, atin ang West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Tourism promotion of Palawan

Jose Chaves Alvarez, Palawan governor, advised the riders to be cautious about the ongoing construction of roads in southern and northern Palawan due to the road widening project.

He also mentioned the port construction in Barangay Buliluyan, Bataraza that will connect the province to Kudat, Malaysia which is expected to be completed in 2020 for the operation of the roll-on/roll-off (RORO) sea link.

Alvarez said that the provincial government would sponsor a ride that will be organized by their local counterparts in 2020.

This will benefit the riders who want to be connected from Buliluyan to Malaysia up to the peak of Borneo.

“I hope to be with you if you organize that by next year kung konektado na tayo from Buliluyan, tapos na ‘yon, konkreto na yon. Yong kalsada sa Buliluyan then yong pier doon naka-ready para sa RoRo. Then yong Buliluyan to Mangsee in Balabac, nandoon na kayo agad sa Kudat, tuloy na kayo ng Kota Kinabalu, Brunei tapos pasok na ng Sarawak,” he said.

He said the port is will also be dedicated in promoting motorbike tourism for enthusiasts and hobbyists.

“Puwede na kayo mag-ride from Batangas to Mindoro, Mindoro sa San Jose, doon muna sa Bulalacao papuntang Coron yong fast cat. From Coron, daan lang ng few minutes sa Linapacan, baba lang yong pasahero then diretso na kayo sa El Nido. This is in the end of October, tapos na yong infrastructure. Yong pier, dedicated for the journey of the riders especially yong motorcycle riders, kayo yong mauuna, this is our project to the Equator,” he said.

The ride with a theme “Awaken the Patriot in You” will have its closing ceremony on Monday, August 26.